2003-10-22 - 3:44 p.m.
You must go read Ator's response to my questions about Texas. Talk about gracious. Talk about a sweet list! Make sure you follow the link to the Cadillac Ranch. Cars angled like the pyramid at Cheops! Thanks, honey! In your honor, and to prove that I know when I'm beat, here it is: chicken-fried steak.
My dad flies home from a three-week visit to some relatives in North Carolina today. A couple of days ago, he called to see if I wanted any gifties. My response?
Martha White Self-Rising Flour (absolutely necessary for biscuits)
The ability to turn back time and see Ben Folds Five perform Song for the Dumped
All this food talk's making me hungry. Is it dinnertime yet?
The other day it came up over at Ator's site that I was a hotel maid in Germany for a while. True, too true. For about six months in 1993 I served an apprenticeship at a German hotel in a small town called Neustadt an der Weinstrasse. (For those who know, it’s in the Rheinland-Pfalz, close to Mannheim.) Every two months, I’d rotate into another job within the business. Hotel maid, front desk clerk, galley slave. Just kidding. Being in the kitchen was the best part. I learned to serve beer to drunk Germans (the key is balancing 12 Pilsner glasses on a 11” round tray), to fluff those damned heavy feather duvets, and to say “Page Hotel Neustadt, Empfang”. It was supposed to be the start of my international life of intrigue and romance. Not so much. The most action I saw during that trip was the incredibly long-lasting morning hard-ons of Stephan, my host parents’ 16 year-old son. Along with homemade strawberry jam and rye bread with butter, watching his hour-long descent became a morning ritual.
Other people went to Europe for the first time on trips with their families, or as a college jaunt with friends. I paid my own way by working full time at an office supply store in the States and taking 19 units each semester – including advanced Japanese and German classes. My friends went abroad and traveled widely, visiting museums and cathedrals. I worked six days a week and lived with a host family. I’m still grateful to have gone, and maintain a friendship with my host mom to this day, but it was a tough experience.
My favorite memories of that time:
A dinner party that started with pineapple daquiris (don’t ask), progressed to wine and beer, moved on to bowle and ended with ouzo. It was my first time being rip-roaring drunk. I crawled back to my room afterwards. The family thought it was hilarious.
Waking at 4:30 a.m. because the garbage men were noisy. It took me a long while to realize they were speaking German. That’s when I knew I was reaching fluency in the language.
Guiding a group of Japanese businessmen around my hotel and adopted city. My Japanese was terrible (and is almost non-existent now), but it was fun to make my co-workers stare. One of the businessmen bought me dinner, which caused a big scandal. I was disciplined and send home early from work. Yep, evil even at 19.
Eating my first Flammkuchen. So good. Even today, when my diet’s mostly vegetables and grains, I dream about slightly overbaked Flammkuchen, with crispy onion and a side salad of endive…oh man. They’re huge, but I could eat one right now.
Anyway, I have a lasting love for the country, which is now buried under EU and reunification financial burdens. When we were there last summer, things weren’t doing so well. My town was dirty. My friends were bitter about job loss and guest workers (Gastarbeitern). But it was still lovely to be there and see everyone. There’ll always be a little part of me that wants to be there, wandering around after an eleven-hour shift at the hotel, munching a Käsebretzel.
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